Immortals Fenyx Rising Review: A Godly Good Time
Immortals Fenyx Rising, Ubisoft's newest action-adventure game, sounds a lot like Assassin's Creed Valhalla on paper. It features a massive open world to explore and tons of things to do in that world, and it puts an interesting twist on pop-culture mythology.
The UI fills with icons when you climb to the top of large statues (this game's version of viewpoints), and hitting a button reveals the surrounding landscape on your map. As your character gets stronger, you unlock new combat mechanics, but you always have the capability to sneak up on enemies and take them out with a one-shot kill. And there are some very good mounts to ride.
Immortals Fenyx Rising doesn't break a lot of new ground, but it ticks many of the same boxes that AC Valhalla does without being quite as swollen. It also carries with it a strong comparison to Breath of the Wild, but on all platforms.
What it may lack in innovation, Immortals Fenyx Rising makes up for in breezy combat and excellent writing, and it's a surprisingly solid game that stands as a must-play for open-world fans.
Immortals Fenyx Rising Review: Deities in Distress
In Immortals Fenyx Rising, Typhon, one of the Titans imprisoned by Zeus and the other Olympians, has broken free and is attempting to take over the world. Panicked, Zeus seeks the help of Prometheus, who proclaims a mortal named Fenyx will be the gods' salvation.
Even though Greek mythology is a commonly visited well in pop culture, Immortals Fenyx Rising does some excellent work with its writing and characters. Prometheus and Zeus regularly interject to narrate your journey and occasionally crack jokes.
Zeus, in particular, has a lot of great, pretty darn funny lines; he's all-powerful but totally naïve and kind of a doofus. Fenyx herself is a storyteller, and can hardly believe she's interacting with so many legends.
Immortals Fenyx Rising has a lot to say about the power of stories, and it subverts the well-known myths just enough to keep things interesting and to keep the player guessing.
After a brief customization section, where you can choose between male and female versions of Fenyx, you make your way to the Golden Isle, a sort of vacation spot for the Olympians. Each section of the world is dedicated to one particularly powerful deity: Aphrodite's area is a lush paradise, full of blooming flowers and rolling meadows, whereas Ares' portion is a constant battlefield full of massive fortresses and broken siege engines, a tribute to the god of war's many victories.
You begin your journey on a little sub-island off the coast of the Golden Isle, where you obtain most of your early abilities and gather the basics of how to fight, solve puzzles, and generally progress. Then you hit the main portion of the game (complete with the reveal of the logo after a few hours of play), and it all opens up.
On each portion of the Golden Isle, your first goal is to find a giant statue honoring whichever deity is in charge of that section of the island. Climb to the top of it and you can scout the area, revealing all the little points of interest you can tackle.
Opening up a few fast travel points on different parts of the Golden Isle allows you to jump to different sections of Immortals Fenyx Rising without ever putting your progress on hold.
It helps that traveling around the Golden Isle is a lot of fun. There are different mounts to tame, which you can summon out of thin air and instantly begin riding, and you have a pair of wings to glide around on, taking in the views from above.
While these points of interest can be a bit overwhelming, they all offer different rewards that help you upgrade Fenyx at the game's hub, called the Hall of the Gods, ultimately preparing her for the final showdown.
Ambrosia can be collected, increasing your maximum health. Treasure chests contain resources to improve your weapons and armor. Potion ingredients help you take down stronger foes. Zeus' lightning raises your maximum stamina. Completing challenges gives you Charon's Coins, which you can use to buy new abilities. There's gear to collect, bosses to fight...
Really, there is a ton to do in Immortals Fenyx Rising.
It helps that all of these resources are so specialized; the system helped me home in on specific upgrades as I played. If I was in a particularly tough boss fight, I could take a quick break to hunt down some Ambrosia to raise my maximum health. If I was trying to climb a mountain and I didn't quite have the stamina to make it to the top, searching for a few more Lightning Bolts was the next goal.
Just like the ability to approach quests in any order you wish creates a sense of freedom, being able to upgrade Fenyx in this way creates a sense of ownership: your Fenyx will evolve in a way unique to you.
Combat is a big part of Immortals Fenyx Rising, and though it's solid and there are plenty of things to think about as you work your way through bigger mobs of more varied foes, it's nothing too involved or terribly difficult.
Early on, you gain your main weapons: a sword for quick attacks, an axe for heavy attacks that build a stun meter, and a bow for ranged attacks. Basic combat unfolds much as you would expect, but buying new abilities with Charon's Coins helps you to tackle things in certain ways, such as upgrading bracers to pull me to you or equipping gear that has bonuses for attacking while airborne (which gives you a strategic advantage for taking out frustrating flying enemies).
Boss fights can be challenging, as can some of the puzzles you're tasked with solving, but Fenyx Immortals Rising takes another page from Assassin's Creed with its difficulty adjustments.
There are tons of ways to change things on the fly, making puzzles incredibly simple to solve or foes total pushovers. If you can't figure out the missing piece of a Fresco challenge, adjusting the difficulty to help you move on and then changing it back to normal is a nice way to not get bogged down.
Immortals Fenyx Rising Review — The Bottom Line
- Well written and funny
- Lots to do
- Pretty and varied environments
- Tons of difficulty adjustments
- Charming and inventive storytelling and animations
- Gameplay isn't terribly original
- Not very challenging
- Stamina bar takes some getting used to
You could easily classify Immortals Fenyx Rising as a less gory Assassin's Creed or an all-platform Breath of the Wild, and few would question you.
That said, Ubisoft's latest does more than enough to stand on its own while offering a twist on the familiar. It is much more than a clone of either of those games, and its engrossing story and unique narrative help it stand apart.
Immortals Fenyx Rising has undeniable charm. Your mileage may vary, but don't sleep on this one. It's worth the adventure.
[Note: Ubisoft provided the copy of Immortals Fenyx Rising used for this review.]